08 November 2021

TCEC Swiss 2, CCC16 Rapid : Both Underway

For the first time in a long while we have both world class engine vs. engine tournaments in full operation. Before we get to the current status, let's summarize the previous post TCEC Cup 9, CCC C960 Blitz Final : Both Underway (October 2021):-

TCEC: The site's 'Cup 9' has reached the semifinal round, with Stockfish, ScorpioNN, KomodoDragon, and LCZero all qualifying for that stage. • CCC: In the 'Chess960 Blitz Semifinals', Stockfish finished a point ahead of Dragon as both engines qualified for the final match, where Stockfish has a non-trivial lead over Dragon.

Since that post, both sites have organized the final round of their respective tournaments and started new tournaments.

TCEC: The results of 'Cup 9' are available on the page TCEC Cup 9, (wiki.chessdom.org), although missing the results of the final match. In the semifinal round, Stockfish beat ScorpioNN +1-0=21, and LCZero beat KomodoDragon +1-0=27. In the final round, Stockfish beat LCZero +1-0=3. In the consolation match ('Bronze') for 3rd/4th place, KomodoDragon beat ScorpioNN +2-0=2.

That semifinal round is an eye-opener -- two decisive games out of 50 played, all using a forced book. The page TCEC Cup rules (ditto), explains,

3. Matches and tiebreaks: a. Each of the matches will initially consist of 2 pairs of games (4 games, every second with reversed colors and the same opening). [...] c. In case of an equal score after 4 games, the tiebreak will be played out immediately. The tiebreak consist of additional game-pairs; a decisive pair of tiebreaker games decides a match.

After some testing, the TCEC launched into 'Swiss 2', which is still in the first of 11 rounds. Each round consists of two games between paired engines with colors reversed in the second game. The 44 engines will be battling each other for the next month.

CCC: I covered the site's 'Chess960 Blitz Championship' on my chess960 blog in a post titled CCC C960 Blitz Championship (October 2021). To summarize that post,

In the final match Stockfish beat Dragon +10-1=589. Yes, more than 98% of the final games were drawn. Stockfish switched to NNUE evaluation last year, while Dragon is also an NNUE engine. Is the high percentage of draws because they both use the same technology for evaluating positions?

I started to answer that question in the previous off-week engine post on this blog, Evaluating the Evaluations (November 2021; 'My first problem was to learn how to find my way around the PGN files'). Given the protracted performance in the TCEC Cup 9 semifinal round, maybe the same sort of analysis should be applied to forced openings from the traditional start position (SP518 RNBQKBNR). I certainly wouldn't want to see forced openings used in chess960. It's high time for the chess engine community to investigate a more creative solution to the problem of excessive draws in engine play.

After the 'C960 Blitz Championship', the CCC started a 'CCC 16 Rapid' tournament with four stages:-

• Qualification (eight engines, two promoting),
• Main event (twelve engines, six promoting),
• Semifinals (six engines, two promoting), and
• Finals (150 rounds, 300 games).

The tournament is currently between the Main event and the Semifinals. Each stage is designed to last a week. Why the name 'CCC 16'? Because the previous scheduled event was 'CCC 15', which halted midway for technical reasons. See last year's post TCEC S19 DivP Chugging Along; CCC15 Halted (September 2020), for more info.

[For further information from the various stakeholders in the engine-to-engine events, see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page. • NB: Leela = LC0 = LCzero; Dragon = KomodoDragon]

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